Adblock Plus
Adblock Plus
Adblock Plus 2014 Logo.svg
Preferences dialog box of Adblock Plus showing a group of filters
Preferences dialog box of Adblock Plus showing a group of filters
Developer(s) Eyeo GmbH[1][2][3]
Current lead developer:
Wladimir Palant
Former lead developers:

Henrik Aasted Sørensen,
Michael McDonald
Initial release 2006
Stable release(s)
Firefox 2.9 / May 25, 2017; 4 months ago (2017-05-25)[4]
Chrome, Opera, Safari 1.13.2 / March 21, 2017; 6 months ago (2017-03-21)[5]
Internet Explorer 1.6 / September 22, 2015; 2 years ago (2015-09-22)[6]
Android 1.3 / March 3, 2015; 2 years ago (2015-03-03)[7]
Preview release(s)
Written in JavaScript, XUL, CSS
Type Mozilla extension
Android application
License GPLv3
Website adblockplus.org

Adblock Plus (ABP) is an open-source[8][9]content-filtering and ad blocking extension developed by Eyeo GmbH (Wladimir Palant), a German software development company. The extension has been released for Mozilla Firefox (including Firefox for mobile[10]), Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge (beta version), Opera, Safari, Yandex Browser, and Android.

In 2011, AdBlock Plus and Eyeo attracted considerable controversy from its users when it introduced an "Acceptable Ads"[11] program to "allow certain non-intrusive ads" (such as Google AdWords) to be allowed (whitelisted) under the extension's default settings. While participation in the whitelisting process is free for small websites, large advertising companies are required to pay a fee (reportedly "equivalent to 30 percent of the additional ad revenues that it would make from being unblocked") in order for their ads to be whitelisted.[12][13] Whitelisting of ads enabled through this program was enabled by default for AdBlock Plus users.

History and statistics

Michael McDonald created Adblock Plus 0.5, which improved on the original Adblock by incorporating the following features:

  • whitelisting
  • support for blocking background images
  • subscription to filters with a fixed address and automatic updates
  • the ability to hide HTML elements, allowing a greater range of images to be blocked
  • the ability to hide ads on a per-site basis, instead of globally
  • memory leak fixes
  • improvements to the user interface

McDonald discontinued development and transferred the name to Wladimir Palant, who released Adblock Plus 0.6 with a rewritten codebase in January 2006.[14]PC World chose Adblock Plus as one of the 100 best products of 2007.[15]

Adblock Plus for Google Chrome has been available since December 2010 and has over 10 million users.[16] It has also become the most popular extension for Firefox, with around 18 million users as of March 2014.[17]

Adblock Plus was released as an app for Android devices in November 2012.

On March 3, 2013, the Android app was removed from the Google Play Store along with similar ad-blocking apps.[18] Some apps remain in the Play Store with the caveat that they require root access in order to function. Adblock Plus, while not in the Play Store, is still available on the app's website. Users can download the .apk file directly and install it as a third-party app if they allow "Unknown Sources" in Android settings.[19]

Adblock Plus has been available for Internet Explorer since August 2013.[20]

Adblock Plus has been available for Safari since January 2014.[21]

Adblock Plus has been available for Yandex Browser since December 2014.[22]

An Adblock Plus browser beta version was made available in May 2015, called the "Adblock Browser".[23] Adblock Browser 1.0 was released on 7 September 2015, based on Firefox for mobile.[24]

Adblock Plus has created an independent board to review what is an acceptable ad and what is not.[25][26]

As of 27 April 2016, Adblock Plus ranked as the top 1 startup for Germany by StartupRanking.[27]

Operation

A website hosting Google ads with and without Adblock Plus

Like Mozilla's built-in image blocker, Adblock Plus blocks HTTP and HTTPS requests according to their source address and additional context information and can block iframes, scripts, and Flash. It also uses automatically generated user stylesheets to hide elements such as text ads on a page as they load instead of blocking them, known as element hiding.[28]

Android

On rooted devices, the Android app blocks ads on all web traffic including mobile networks. For non-rooted devices, ads are only blocked through a Wi-Fi connection and requires the user to set up a local proxy server for each network in order for the app to function.[29] The app uses a local proxy server to intercept web traffic and remove ads before showing content to the user. Most of the content that users are trying to block will be removed, though some content is missed and the app is not as reliable at blocking ads as the browser versions. The app can be configured to auto-start every time the device reboots, minimizing the action required by the user.

Filters

Basic filter rules can include wildcards represented by asterisks (*). Sites and objects can be whitelisted with filters that start with two at signs (@@). Regular expressions delimited by slashes (/) can be used. Adblock Plus also supports a more-sophisticated syntax that gives fine-grain control over filters.[30] An example of the sophisticated filtering would be wikipedia.org##div#centralNotice, which will hide the centralNotice element used by Wikipedia to display donation requests.

Filter subscriptions

Users can add external filtersets. Adblock Plus includes the ability to use one or more external filter subscriptions that are automatically updated. Filterset.G is incompatible with this system (and Adblock Plus specifically recommends against using Filterset.G for other reasons as well), but other filtersets can be added by typing their addresses. A list of known Adblock Plus subscriptions is maintained on the Adblock Plus official website.[31]

EasyList[32] was the most popular Adblock Plus filter list as of August 2011, with over 12 million subscribers.[33] Created by Rick Petnel,[34] it became officially recommended by the Adblock Plus program, and filter lists for other languages were built on top of it. Petnel died in 2009[35][36] following which Palant placed a user named "Ares2" as the new maintainer.[37] The filter lists EasyList and EasyPrivacy are both subscribed by default in uBlock Origin but not in Adblock Plus itself.

In May 2013, the former second most popular Adblock Plus filter list, Fanboy's List, was merged with EasyList.[38]

Controversy over ad filtering and ad whitelisting

The owners of some websites which use third-party hosted online advertising to fund the hosting of their websites have argued that the use of ad-blocking software such as Adblock Plus risks cutting off their revenue stream.[39][40] While some websites such as The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph have successfully implemented subscription and membership-based paywall systems for revenue,[41] many websites today rely on third-party hosted online advertising to function. In 2007, web developer Danny Carlton described the use of ad blockers as tantamount to theft,[42] and called for other site owners to block the Firefox web browser from their websites to deter its use.[43]

On December 5, 2011, Wladimir Palant announced that certain "acceptable" ads would be whitelisted in upcoming builds of the Adblock Plus software, with the option to remove whitelisted ads via a custom setting in the software. According to Palant, only static advertisements with a maximum of one script will be permitted as "acceptable", with a preference towards text-only content. The announcement created some controversy both at Adblock Plus's website and at social media sites like Reddit.[44]

In 2012, Adblock Plus's managing director Till Faida told the Swiss newspaper Thurgauer Zeitung that the "strategic partners" on Adblock Plus's whitelist would not be named, but that the partnership is part of the company's "Acceptable Ads" whitelist project.[45] In February 2013, an anonymous source accused Adblock Plus developer Wladimir Palant of offering to add his site's advertisements to the whitelist in return for one-third of the advertisement revenue.[46] In June 2013, blogger Sascha Pallenberg accused the developers of Adblock Plus of maintaining business connections to "strategic partners in the advertising industry", and called ABP a "mafia-like advertising network".[47] He alleged that Adblock Plus whitelisted all ads coming from "friendly" sites and subsidiaries, and promoted their product using fake reviews and pornography.[48] Faida responded to Pallenberg's accusations, stating that "a large part of the information concerning the collaboration with our partners is correct", but that the company did not see these industry connections as a conflict of interest. He said that the company is convinced that the "acceptable ads" business model will be successful and says that the whitelisting criteria are "completely transparent".[47] He also stated that "We have an initiative called Acceptable Ads to support websites with unobtrusive ads. Every website can participate. The [Pallenberg] article on purpose just slanders our good name".[48]

Attacks were made in 2016 against ad-blocking with paid whitelists--though Adblock Plus was not mentioned by name--by content providers who provide content free of charge to users, deriving revenue from advertisements, and by industry and government sources who criticise the "unsavoury" business model, which has been described as a "modern-day protection racket".[49]

In May 2016, Adblock Plus parent company Eyeo began a collaboration with the online donation service Flattr to create a service that would allow users to automatically donate money to online publishers based on their engagement. The service was conceived as a way for users to automatically support online publishers as an alternative to advertising; Eyeo would acquire Flattr outright the following year, seeking to expand upon this model as Flattr's main service.[50][51] In September 2016, Eyeo announced that it would launch a "marketplace" for ads that meet its acceptability criteria.[52]

Legal challenges

In December 2014, it was reported that Zeit Online and Handelsblatt had brought suit against Eyeo GmbH in the Landgericht Hamburg (de).[53][54][55] In April 2015 the court rejected the suit.[56][57][58]Axel Springer SE has filed a court order for the removal of the Adblock Plus post[59] though there is a redacted version[60] and people have posted videos and posts on how to get around the Axel Springer wall.[61][better source needed]

In August 2017, the Admiral advertising company sent a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice to EasyList to remove the domain functionalclam.com from the blacklist. Admiral argues that the domain is part of its access control technology of its advertising platform, and therefore the blacklisting is an attempt to circumvent a technical protection measure, which is forbidden under the DMCA section 1201.[62]

Detection

Some webmasters have used JavaScript to detect the effects of the popular Adblock Plus filters.[63][64] This is done by generating a honeypot-like URL, verifying its delivery, and DOM verification after the web page is rendered by the web browser, to ensure the expected advertising elements are present. Detection is simplified since the extension is not yet capable of replacing content; Loopback proxies provide this additional functionality.

These methods do not detect the presence of the Adblock Plus extension directly, only the effects of the filters. They are vulnerable to continued filter updates, and whitelist-filtering web scripts with extensions such as NoScript.

An attempt was made to detect the plug-in itself, but that detection method was rendered unusable by the 0.7.5.2 update of Adblock Plus.[65] Furthermore, third party developers have created specific browser add-ons (like "Anti-Adblock Killer") to work alongside the Adblock extension that allow users to visit websites that would otherwise restrict their access.[66]

Google Chrome had a defect in Content Security Policy that allowed the detection of any installed extension, including Adblock Plus for Google Chrome.[67] The solution of this was possible only in Google Chrome 18, and requires each developer to make some changes in their extensions.[68] Adblock Plus for Google Chrome fixed this in version 1.3.[69]

See also

References

  1. ^ Palant, Wladimir. "Introducing Eyeo GmbH, the company behind Adblock Plus". Adblockplus.org. 
  2. ^ Hern, Alex. "Adblock Plus: the tiny plugin threatening the internet's business model". Theguardian.com. 
  3. ^ Sartoros, Alkimos; Dernbach, Christoph. "Adblock Plus: Erpresser-Vorwürfe gegen umstrittenen Werbeblocker (German)". Spiegel.de. 
  4. ^ Wladimir Palant (May 25, 2017). "Adblock Plus 2.9 for Firefox released". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2017. 
  5. ^ Jon Sonesen (March 21, 2017). "Adblock Plus 1.13.2 for Chrome, Opera and Safari released". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2017. 
  6. ^ Oleksandr Paraska (January 3, 2017). "Adblock Plus 1.6 for IE released". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2017. 
  7. ^ René Jeschke (March 3, 2015). "Adblock Plus 1.3 for Android released". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2015. 
  8. ^ Adblock Plus. "Adblock Plus : About". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2012. 
  9. ^ Adblock Plus. "Adblock Plus : Source Code". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2012. 
  10. ^ Mozilla. "Adblock Plus :: Add-ons for Mozilla". Mozilla. Retrieved 2011. 
  11. ^ "Reach new audiences with Acceptable Ads". acceptableads.com. Retrieved . 
  12. ^ "Subscribe to read". 
  13. ^ Jones, Rhett (September 15, 2017). "Chrome Will Soon Block Autoplay Videos With Sound--Here's Why You Should Be Worried". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017. 
  14. ^ "About Adblock Plus". Adblockplus.org. Retrieved 2011. 
  15. ^ "PC World - The 100 Best Products of 2007". PC World. Retrieved 2007. 
  16. ^ adblockplus.org (October 27, 2011). "Adblock Plus for Google Chrome(TM) (Beta) - Chrome Web Store". Chrome.google.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  17. ^ "Statistics for Adblock Plus". Mozilla. January 17, 2006. Retrieved 2011. 
  18. ^ "Adblock Plus and (a little) more: Adblock Plus for Android removed from Google Play store". adblockplus.org. Retrieved . 
  19. ^ "Install Adblock Plus for Android". adblockplus.org. Retrieved . 
  20. ^ "Adblock Plus 1.0 for Internet Explorer released". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2013. 
  21. ^ "Adblock Plus for Safari Beta released". Retrieved 2014. 
  22. ^ Williams, Ben. "Adblock Plus now available on Yandex Browser". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2015. 
  23. ^ Williams, Ben (20 May 2015). "Adblock Browser is here". Retrieved 2015. 
  24. ^ "Adblock Browser for Android". Google Play Store. 2015-09-07. Retrieved . 
  25. ^ "Adblock Plus creators plan independent board to decide ad acceptability". Retrieved . 
  26. ^ "AdBlock Plus to introduce independent board to oversee Acceptable Ads program". BetaNews. Retrieved . 
  27. ^ "Germany Top Startups - Adblock Plus, Ecosia, Dawanda | Startup Ranking". StartupRanking. Retrieved . 
  28. ^ "FAQ - Adblock Plus internals". Adblockplus.org. Retrieved 2011. 
  29. ^ "About Adblock Plus for Android". adblockplus.org. Retrieved . 
  30. ^ "Writing Adblock Plus filters". Adblockplus.org. Retrieved 2011. 
  31. ^ "Known Adblock Plus subscriptions". adblockplus.org. 
  32. ^ "The Official EasyList Website". easylist.to. 
  33. ^ "EasyList Statistics: August 2011". EasyList. September 1, 2011. Retrieved 2011. /
  34. ^ Whoriskey, Peter (June 25, 2008). "One Man, One Long List, No More Web Ads". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010. 
  35. ^ "Richard J. Petnel Obituary: View Richard Petnel's Obituary by Albany Times Union". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2011. 
  36. ^ "Adblock Plus and (a little) more: Sad news". Adblockplus.org. Retrieved 2011. 
  37. ^ "Adblock Plus and (a little) more: What is going on with EasyList". Adblockplus.org. Retrieved 2011. 
  38. ^ "EasyList merges with Fanboy's List". EasyList. May 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013. 
  39. ^ "An Open Letter Regarding AdBlock and Revenue Loss". wordswithmeaning.org. April 19, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love". Ars Technica. March 6, 2010. 
  41. ^ "Two years in: Reflections on the New York Times paywall". journalism.co.uk. March 28, 2013. 
  42. ^ McDougall, Paul (September 12, 2007). "Firefox Adblock Foe Calls For Mozilla Boycott". InformationWeek. Retrieved 2011. 
  43. ^ "Ad blocking is theft, so block Firefox instead (updated)". The Guardian. London. August 10, 2007. 
  44. ^ Palant, Wladimir (December 5, 2011). "Allowing acceptable ads in Adblock Plus". Adblock Plus. Retrieved 2011. 
  45. ^ "Mit aufdringlicher Werbung übertrieben" (in German). November 20, 2012. 
  46. ^ "Media mafiosos: Is Adblock Plus shaking down websites for cash to let ads through?". Digital Trends. February 21, 2013. 
  47. ^ a b "Serious accusations against Adblock Plus". The H. June 26, 2013. Archived from the original on December 8, 2013. 
  48. ^ a b "Adblock Plus denies ad fixing allegations". TechEye. June 27, 2013. 
  49. ^ Mark Sweney (9 March 2016). "Adblocking 'pretty unsavoury' business model, says Trinity Mirror chief". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016. They offer software for free [to consumers] and then come to us and say 'your site's OK so if you pay us we will ensure ads on your sites get through'. There is something extremely unhealthy about this business model. 
  50. ^ "AdBlock Plus teams up with Flattr to help readers pay publishers". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017. 
  51. ^ "The company behind Adblock Plus is acquiring micropayment service Flattr". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved 2017. 
  52. ^ "Adblock Plus now sells ads". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 2017. 
  53. ^ "Auch Zeit Online klagt gegen Adblock-Plus-Mutter Eyeo" (in German). horizont.net. 2014-12-17. Retrieved . 
  54. ^ "Prozessauftakt in Köln - Adblock Plus: Axel Springer klagt gegen Eyeo" (in German). Internet World Business. 2015-03-11. Retrieved . 
  55. ^ "Auch Süddeutsche klagt gegen Adblock Plus" (in German). Internet World Business. 2015-03-13. Retrieved . 
  56. ^ Landsgericht Hamburg 16. Kammer für Handelssachen, Urteil vom 21.04.2015, 416 HKO 159/14 (Anonymized)
  57. ^ Ben Williams (2015-04-21). "Restating the obvious: adblocking declared legal.". Adblock Plus and (a little) more. Retrieved . 
  58. ^ "Landgericht Hamburg: Adblock Plus darf weiter blocken" (in German). heise online. 2015-04-21. Retrieved . 
  59. ^ "AdBlock Plus accuses Axel Springer of censorship after ad-block move - Digiday". Digiday. Retrieved . 
  60. ^ "Adblock Plus o View topic - bild.de adblock detect unskippable". adblockplus.org. Retrieved . 
  61. ^ Bild.de AdBlock Sperre umgehen (in German), retrieved  
  62. ^ Jones, Rhett (12 August 2017). "A Copyright Claim Was Reportedly Used to Stop Ad Blocking, But It's Complicated". Gizmodo. 
  63. ^ Larsen, Dan. "Adblock Detector (v. 1.0) - A JavaScript way of doing ad block detection". adblockdetector.com. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved . Adblock Detector is a javascript, that can help site owners to detect ad blockers like Adblock Plus. It is not bullet proof, but definitely better than nothing, if you want to make sure your visitor are not blocking your ads! 
  64. ^ "Content Filters and Proxy Detection". BrowserLeaks.com. Retrieved . The set of demos that try to determine Content Filters usage, is the type of applications that operate between the browser and the web page, and are designed to manipulate the connection and content of a visited web pages. Among them are TOR Browser, Privixy, Adblock Detectors. 
  65. ^ "Detailed changelog for Adblock Plus 0.7.5.2". Adblockplus.org. Retrieved 2011. 
  66. ^ "How To Bypass Websites that Block "AdBlock" (e.g. Forbes)". Brandon, Nick. Retrieved 2015. 
  67. ^ "Intro to Chrome addons hacking: fingerprinting". The World. According to Koto. 2012-02-17. Retrieved . Webpages can sometimes interact with Chrome addons and that might be dangerous, more on that later. Meanwhile, a warmup - trick to detect addons you have installed. 
  68. ^ "Google Chrome Extensions: Migrate to Manifest V2". Google. Retrieved 2013. 
  69. ^ "Adblock Plus 1.3 for Google Chrome(TM) released". Adblockplus.org. Retrieved 2013. 

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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